Development of an ethical guideline for adoption social workers in South Africa
In South Africa, adoption is a specialised area in the field of childcare and child protection. It is regulated by the Children’s Act, 2005 (38 of 2005 as amended) and Social Service Professions Act (110 of 1978). In South Africa, the Children’s Act (38 of 2005) and Adoption Policy Framework and Strategy (2010) prioritise adoption as a preferred form of permanent alternative care for young adoptable children. Adoption is often described as being legally and ethically complex as it potentially involves the conflicting rights of parties to the adoption triad. What is more, adoption affects the involved parties for their whole lives. In the Hague Convention and National Practice Guidelines, the emphasis is on the adoption practitioner’s ability to render adoption services that are based on sound ethics to prevent inducement, exploitation, the sale and trafficking of children, and improper financial gain through adoptions. The adoption of children raises several human rights issues. It is crucial that the process of adoption should be guided by the principle of identifying and acting in the best interest of the child. Measures are needed in several areas to better protect children and their rights during adoption procedures. The general aim of this research study was to develop an ethical guideline for adoption social workers. In pursuit of this aim, the researcher did a rapid review on relevant existing national and international ethics documents for adoption social workers, identifying common challenges with respect to the ethics involved in adoptions and the most appropriate guidelines for dealing with dilemmas that arise from the ethics related to adoption social work. The researcher then used the results of the rapid review and the contributions of a Delphi panel to refine and develop content for an ethical guideline for adoption social workers in South Africa. The study may provide the adoption social workers in South Africa with knowledge to develop policies in this area.
- Health Sciences 
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